Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I still don't know what academic blogs are

but evidently I write one (maybe). Sometimes I read them, though I prefer the ones that are more "abstract," paradoxically, because they are more personal.

Scott McLemee has a little article about academic blogs over at Inside Higher Ed, and asked certain bloggers for their favorites. I poked around in the list a bit. To tell the truth, audience matters way more on a blog than in our academic writing, and so many of those blogs are so focused on disseminating new research, or perhaps synthesizing disparate research, in their fields, that someone reading from a different discipline can be both confused and bored. So, go ahead, convict me: I'm a bad academic blogger. Or bad academic blog-reader. I want to hear about the types of things I can relate to rather than intricate details of, say, digital copyright issues or self-regulating feedback loops. You can try to tell me about your research project, sir, but what I really want to know is: did you have writer's block, and how many trips to the vending machine for Junior Mints did it take for you to clear it?

These are the truly important questions for the age. (Well, that and, if your writer's block is so shitty, and your research so unacknowledged, and your institutional position so precarious, then why do you do it? What good comes of the whole enterprise?)

And oh, lookee here at this part of the article:

Scott Eric Kaufman, now finishing his dissertation in English at the University of California at Irvine, is probably better known as “that guy who walked in on two students having sex in his office,” thanks to a widely circulated post at his blog Acephalous. That was two years ago. The story will never die. Someday it will be adapted for film and shown at Sundance.

Kaufman cites Chuck Tryon’s The Chutry Experiment and Liz Losh’s Virtual Politik as blogs that probably have larger audiences than their comments sections might suggest. He says that Sisyphus’ Academic Cog is"the best barometer of job-market induced hysteria” he knows.

Aww, I've been recommended! How swee ---- hysterical? Hysterical??? Them's some mighty loaded terms for talking about a female writer. What, gonna suggest I take a rest cure to take care of that wandering womb? (the Silas Weir Mitchell money quote is in the last paragraph of the link.)

Hmph. I think I'm quite sane and level-headed, thank you very much. Besides, last night I was just reading through a long thread on The Chronicle about brand-new tenure-track faculty survival, and they've got waaay more intense freakoutery than anything I've got goin' on here. And, um, a lot more to do ... and higher stakes ... evidently higher levels of depression and stress as well ... ulp.

Excuse me while I crawl under the couch and hide. I'm not sure I actually want what's on the other side of the job search after all. If anybody calls, say you don't know where I am. And send cookies.


SEK said...

You're the barometer, not the embodiment, of job induced hysteria. (And yes, I think the market is hysterical in that sexist, C19th sort of way.)

undine said...

You're recommended! Be honored, and prepare for an onslaught of new readers.

gwoertendyke said...

this is AWESOME....and i'm only six degrees of separation from you!

and also hilarious....go girl.

Flavia said...

And yet. . . is true. And fabulous.

Maude said...

i know! i feel like i'm in the presence of greatness and wonder as i type!

it is well deserved reCOGnition for you are hilarious and inspiring all at once.

i recommend the "rest cure" only when it has come after a long night of copious alcohol consumption during long treks of trying to locate that pesky womb. be careful though, i wouldn't want you to come down with a case of the "vapors" either.

dance said...

I'm with you on not really being drawn to research blogs. People who talk about their teaching, though--I'm right there. Yet I suspect such posts are seen as not-as-serious as research posts.

Barometer makes it not personal. Don't stress.

Sisyphus said...

Hee! Thanks all. Truly, I appreciate whatever attention I get --- and I'm such a mellow person usually but I can actually feel myself acting like a different person during all this job crap.

Last year I purged all my stress into a "bitching log" which I just went back and reread a bit ---- it'd be interesting to post some of that stuff next to how I experienced that all this year.

Quiche said...

ha! I love you sisyphus.